I’ve done my laundry about 6 times since I’ve arrived in Denmark. And let me tell you, I finally got it figured out. And it’s not because the machines are overly complicated (okay, they are) but that some machines are defective, and some just work better than others even though they look exactly the same.
The first time I did my laundry I chose the washing on the left side corner. Bad machine. I was wondering why it didn’t give me all the options the poster on the wall had advertised, but I thought nothing of it until my second time doing laundry and the other machines had all the advanced options. For my third time doing laundry I tried the one on the left side corner and again it gave me limited options, so Aha! The machine was indeed crappy compared to the other ones. Oh and by the way, when I say overly complicated, let me put it this way: you get charged by what temperature you wash your clothes in (95 degrees, 60 degrees, etc.) and your detergent and fabric softener are already included in your wash (you don’t have to buy your own soap), but you have to activate it by pressing this panel on the wall near the card reader. Well, now that I think about it, I like this way much better than how it works in the U.S.
Now the dryer is much trickier. The majority of Danes don’t use dryers, and it reflects in the fact that there are only 5 dryers for a big dorm population. The first time I washed it, I chose a defective machine also, and I had to pay 5 times for my clothes to be dried enough to wear (Okay, it didn’t help that I had unintentionally set it on “Koldt” which means “cold.” Still that doesn’t explain why my clothes were still really wet after 4 cycles.) The second time I used the dryer on the corner and I left my clothes in there for 45 minutes, thinking it would stop on its own like the other machine did. But no, it stayed on and I was able to have my clothes nicely dried with only one payment. The third time washing my clothes, I used another different dryer and that one left my clothes damp and I had to pay twice to get it dried enough to wear. Tonight I used the one in the corner that I had used my second time and it worked perfectly. So from now I’ll use that one. But the dryers are much, much more complicated than the ones in the U.S. First off, there are settings for hot, cold, medium warm, medium cold (all of this by the way was in Danish and I had to figure it out myself). Then for the level of dryness, there are 7 settings to choose from, and I still haven’t figured out what all the settings mean because again, they’re in Danish. But there’s one setting with a drawing of 3 water drops which I took to mean that the clothes are really wet, so I’ve been using that one ever since. And as I said, the majority of Danes don’t use dryers, so maybe that’s why their drying technology is lacking.
However, I do like the fact that there are so many contraptions to air dry clothes. It’s not like in the U.S., where people just put up a clothesline and put clothespin on clothes. In fact, the first time I went to Denmark with my mom (when I was 10) my mom fell in love with these contraptions so much when she saw my aunts and uncles using them that she had some of the contraptions exported to our home in the States, and even to this day, my mom still air dries all of our clothes (and then throws them into the dryer for 3 minutes to get rid of the air-dried feel of the clothes).